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posted June 16, 2001 01:22 AM UIN: 16262997

VERNON, NY – The 40th anniversary season of DIRT Motorsports stock car racing continues this Sunday June 24 at Utica-Rome Speedway. In exciting race competition on Student Night at the ultra fast half-mile clay oval will be the mighty DIRT 358-Modifieds, DIRT Sportsman (non-point), DIRT Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Slingshots. Race time is set for 5:45pm.

Todd "The Tornado" Burley from Spencerport leads all drivers in the headline DIRT 358-Modified division in the point standings and he is the only driver to have more than one feature win with two to date. J.J. Michaels and Danny Johnson are the only other drivers to score victories so far in the young season in the high-horsepowered machines. However, top drivers including defending track champion Ron "Hot Shoe" Holmes of Oneida and the ageless veteran Jumpin’ Jack Johnson of Duanesburg are winless and hungry to reach victory lane for the first time this season. Also looking to make noise in the huge 30-lap main event this Sunday during the annual Student Night include Paul Jensen, Roger Phelps, Jason Barney, Mitch Gibbs, Gus Schmdt, Steve Hulsizer, Ted Lamb, Ryan Baye, and John Barker. With some of the most talented 358-Modified drivers on the DIRT circuit at Utica-Rome, you never know who will end up in victory lane when the checkered flag flies!

Tim Clemons of Gloversville leads the highly competitive DIRT Sportsman division in the points and in the victory column with three triumphs. However, the Sportsman feature this Sunday will be a non-points event, as several of Utica-Rome’s top teams will be racing the Super DIRT Series event at Weedsport. With many of Utica-Rome’s top stars in action at Weedsport, will there be a new Sportsman feature winner this Sunday?

Jerry Holmes of West Winfield continues to be the man to beat in the classy DIRT Pro Stock division at Utica-Rome, with three consecutive victories and the point lead. Drivers such as Bret Belden, Wayne Archer, Jim Normoyle, Jason Rood, and Mark Effner will all be gunning to be the first driver to beat the undefeated Holmes this season.

Dave Mannise has been the driver to beat in the Pure Stock division for years, however, he has indicated he will not be at Utica-Rome much for the remainder of the season. This leaves the door wide open for drivers such as one time winner Jeff Pastorella, Jim Thomas, Herm Staats, and teenager Waylan Wilczek to reach victory lane and win their first championship.

The Slingshot division at Utica-Rome continues to grow especially helped with the recent enlarging of the track. J.J. Courcy leads the points with two wins, and Brian Thomas has one victory to his credit.

Area school children ages 10-14 with a passing report card will be admitted FREE to the grandstand area for the evening’s racing action. The Utica-Rome Speedway is proud of all school children, and this is a great way to reward them for their long school year full of hard work.

So far this season, car counts are up in each division and management expects that trend to continue throughout the year as teams discover the excellent competition at the speedway. On average, over 110 cars show up weekly for the action packed five division show, which is completed around 10pm to allow everyone time to get home and prepare for the week ahead.

You can be a part of the "Fastest Family Fun in Central New York" this summer at the Utica-Rome Speedway, a Sunday family tradition in the Mohawk Valley that produces some of the best three and four wide racing on the entire 26-track DIRT Motorsports circuit. The track is located just east of the village of Vernon on Route 5 and is easily accessible from New York State Thruway Exit 33. Free parking and overnight camping is allowed on speedway grounds.

The gates this Sunday June 24 on Student Night will open at 4pm, with Slingshot heats beginning at 5:45pm and racing taking the green from Head Starter Chip Burdick at 6pm.

For more information, contact the speedway office at (315) 829-4557 or log onto the official website at


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